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New JAMA Article Suggests Potential Policies to Reshape the Food Environment to Prevent Diet-related Disease

In the wake of two recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing increased rates of obesity and high sodium intake, three leading health advocates have proposed a seven-pronged approach to preventing diet-related conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.


The plan, published as a Viewpoint in the current issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, calls for taxing sugary drinks, reducing sodium in packaged foods, instituting front-of-package nutrition labeling, providing subsidies for low-income people to buy healthy food, and other health-promoting measures.

Dietary factors were associated with more than 529,000 deaths in 2016 in the United States, making them the leading risk factor for mortality, according to the authors, citing the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators.

“Given the substantial effects that diet has on chronic diseases, an ambitious, multipronged effort to reshape the food environment so that healthy foods are readily accessible and exposure to unhealthy foods is limited is worthy of much greater public investment and advocacy,” write Healthy Food America executive director James Krieger, Center for Science in the Public Interest senior scientist and co-founder Michael F. Jacobson, and Kelly Brownell, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

The paper is available here